X-Men: First Class Gets a Director

Matthew Vaughn has apparently become the darling of the comics-to-big screen adaptation circuit. Fresh off of directing Stardust and Kick-Ass (and currently working on Mark Millar's American Jesus), 20th Century Fox has tapped him to direct X-Men: First Class, a decidedly less gory and bloodsoaked film. He'll be directing the Bryan Singer conceived, Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz written film that, per 20th Century Fox:

"X-Men: First Class, following the classic Marvel mythology, charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men."

What's even more is that the film is due to be released in a little over a year on June 3, 2011. Yep, two weeks before the release of Green Lantern.

I'm inclined to believe that neither Patrick Stewart nor Ian McKellan will be reprising their roles as Professor X and Magneto respectively. Since this is presumably before they become the frenemies they are (and the ones depicted in the recent X-Men trilogy) it's going to be crucial that they're depicted as younger. Further, I doubt any of the original cast members will be making an appearance in the film because of continuity and all that. I don't even think you'll be seeing Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the film.

So what's the story? Well, the original X-Men were Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast and Jean Grey in addition to X and Magneto having similar ideologies about mutants. The film will presumably start with Charles and Erik forming the school, recruiting mutants (see above) and slowly drifting apart based on their evolving ideologies. It's possible that the film could split halfway and have Erik form the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Mastermind, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Toad), with the end being a showdown between the X-Men and Brotherhood. This was sort of touched upon in the first X-Men film though, so I don't know that they'll really go back to that. What would be really interesting is if they worked in the fact that Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver are Magneto's children.

Frankly, I'm not sure what to expect from X-Men: First Class. I know Vaughn will do a great job directing it, and many claim that X2: X-Men United is one of the great comic book films with Singer at the helm. It'll be interesting to see if Marvel tries to start folding movies where other studios own the rights into their current budding universe. Granted, I don't think we can expect to see a Captain America/X-Men crossover, it would be nice for there to be references to the other characters in the Marvel universe in X-Men: First Class.

What's also fascinating about this story (moreso than Vaughn's attachment) is the release date. Marvel must not be too happy with DC owning June next year with Ryan Reynolds and Green Lantern. But Thor is set to be released May 6, 2011, which means that Marvel will have two superhero films that summer. I'm starting to wonder if that's going to be their business model from here on out: releasing at least two films a year. This will obvisouly be easier once studios like Sony and 20th Century Fox lose the rights the Marvel characters (you know Disney is itching to bring them all in house). All we can do for now is wait and salivate at the thought of seeing every Marvel character we know and love on screen at some point.